Risking the Shot by Amy Aislin
Series: Stick Side #4
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: September 8, 2020
Subgenre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Cover by: Natasha Snow Designs
Order here: Amazon: http://readerlinks.com/l/1346949
Kobo: http:// readerlinks.com/l/1348526 Apple: http://readerlinks.com/l/1346950
Synopsis for Risking the Shot:
Time for distractions? Hardly.
A chance at making the playoffs? It’s a dream for NHL forward Taylor Cunningham that just might come true. If he can keep his eyes on the ball—ahem, puck. And study for midterms. Dakota Cotton, eleven years his senior, isn’t just a distraction, though—he’s everything Tay’s ever wanted.
Dakota has no interest in introducing someone who might not stick around to his four-year-old son. Been there, done that, with the divorce to prove it. But there’s something about Tay that hits all of the right buttons and has him wanting to take a chance.
As things heat up between them, and the pressure to succeed hits an all-time high, will they risk a shot at happiness or choke?
Extra info to share:
Shots on Goal (Stick Side #3) will be reduced to $0.99 from September 7-17 across all retailers.
Clearing his throat, he said, “What are you drinking?”
“Oban 14. Scotch,” Dakota added at Tay’s questioning look.
“Smells good.” The scent had been wafting in his direction since he first sat down, strong and vaguely smoky, peaty. It reminded him of Dakota for reasons he couldn’t name.
Scooting forward on the bench, their knees touching, he said, “Can I try it?”
Dakota’s gaze caught his, gray and shadowy and searching. Tay held it, refusing to break eye contact. Let Dakota see how attracted he was to him. Dakota must already know anyway. What was the point of holding back? Tay wanted Dakota and he wasn’t shying away from it.
Without looking away, Dakota leaned forward, bringing their faces within inches of each other. Dakota’s soft breath whispered across Tay’s lips, making his own breath catch. Holding his glass out, Dakota still didn’t look away as Tay brought it to his mouth, placing his lips over the outline of Dakota’s on the glass.
Dakota didn’t miss it, his smile turning knowing. The heat in Tay’s blood had nothing to do with the scotch.
Which, in itself, was… “Holy fuck, this is good.” Strong and smoky, yes—even the taste reminded him of Dakota—with hints of fruits and honey.
Dakota made a sound in the back of his throat, an acknowledgment that sounded like a groan. The heat in Tay’s blood spread outward, flushing his cheeks, dotting his temple with sweat. Fuck, it suddenly got very, very warm in this coatroom. Warmer still when Dakota’s gaze dipped down to Tay’s mouth.
“Let’s see what you got.”
“Don’t judge if I fail,” Dakota warned, pointing a finger at him.
Tay mock gasped. As genuinely as he could, he said, “I make no promises.”
Dakota was shaking his head at him. In the next moment, he whipped a slap shot into the back of the net.
“Oh ho!” Tay crowed. “Look at you.”
“Yeah.” Dakota blew on his nails. “I still got it.”
“Wow, Daddy!” In his excitement, Andy hopped, unbalancing himself and landing on his butt. He was on his knees in an instant, clapping. “Again!”
Dakota skated backward, gaze over his shoulder so he didn’t hit anyone, and stopped just beyond the face-off circle. Seemed like he was giving himself a bigger challenge.
Never in his life had Tay been turned on by watching his teammates play or practice. Watching Dakota set up a shot? Knees slightly flexed, torso held straight? Drawing his stick back, his leather jacket pulling tight across the shoulders? Concentration lines furrowing his brow, pink lips set in a determined line? Tay was much more turned on than the situation warranted, but fuck. Why did Dakota have to be so damn sexy?
Dakota’s next shot joined the first. The grin that lit up his face did way more than warm Tay’s belly.
Get your mind out of the gutter, Cunningham. There are kids present.
Speaking of kids…
“What do you think, And—?” Dakota cut himself off when he noticed Andy making snow angels on the ice. “Yeah, that looks about right.”
Dakota snuck an arm around Tay’s back. “Can I get you a beer?”
“Yes.” Head falling back, Tay groaned. “Also no. I really do need to go. I’ve got an early flight tomorrow and I want to get a reading assignment done tonight.”
“Right, I remember now,” Dakota said as Tay turned toward him, hands coming up to grip his biceps. Dakota’s went to Tay’s hips. “West Coast games.”
“Yeah.” Tay’s gaze dropped to Dakota’s mouth.
“Guess I won’t invite you to dinner tomorrow then.”
That gaze came back up, pleased and surprised. “Were you going to?”
“Well.” He brought Tay in closer, thigh-to-thigh, chest-to-chest, his blood heating when Tay’s hands inched up his arms and around his neck. “Andy wanted me to.”
“Oh, Andy wants me to come to dinner, huh?” Tay’s lips were a mere inch away now, slightly curved upward, amusement alight in his eyes.
“Maybe I did too.”
They were smiling when their lips met. Tay tasted slightly like the one beer he’d had with dinner and like something uniquely Tay. Fingers swept into Dakota’s hair and gripped, making him exhale sharply into Tay’s mouth. Thank fuck Tay had stayed.
Dakota’s arms crept around Tay’s hips, one hand sneaking under Tay’s sweater to run over his back, the skin smooth and warm. The other gripped a handful of Tay’s ass, bringing him that much closer and nudging their semis together.
Tay made a sound in the back of his throat, guttural and deep. It reverberated into Dakota’s bones and outward to the tips of his fingers. They were evenly matched in height; still, Tay rose up onto his toes as if that could bring them even closer together.
A shiver wracked Tay’s whole body. Gentling the kiss that had gotten more heated than Dakota had anticipated, he pulled back and swept his thumb over Tay’s wet lips. “Okay?”
“Yeah.” Eyes heavy-lidded, Tay smiled softly. “I’m just… I don’t know. Amazed.”
“’Cause my kiss was that awesome?” Dakota teased.
Tay let out a short laugh and cupped the side of Dakota’s neck. “It was pretty epic as far as first kisses go.”
Before Dakota could ask what was actually amazing, Tay kissed him again, tongue curling into Dakota’s mouth. Dakota moaned, inserting a thigh between Tay’s legs.
They kissed until Dakota’s mouth went dry, until his lips were sore. Until Tay lost his balance, clutching at Dakota’s shoulders with a laugh. He tucked his face into Dakota’s neck, the gesture so sweet and trusting that Dakota smiled against Tay’s temple.
Pulling back, Tay searched his face. For what, Dakota couldn’t tell.
“Can I take you out sometime?”
Entranced by Tay’s smile, Dakota cupped his cheeks. “On a date?”
“Mm-hmm.” A quick kiss landed on Dakota’s lips. “And then for our second one, maybe we can take Andy with us and go bowling or something.”
Tay was already looking forward to their second date?
More importantly, he wanted to include Andy too?
“Why don’t you grab us a seat?” Tay said. “I’ll wait for the tray.”
He sat across from Dakota a few minutes later, setting the tray in the middle of the table and passing Dakota his food. Sitting back with his own coffee, Tay took a sip of the too-hot liquid and examined Dakota’s face in the light streaming in from the window to his left. His shoulders were more relaxed, the stress lines around his mouth less pronounced, and his eyes less pinched.
Dakota made an Mm sound around a sip of his own coffee.
“Are they usually?”
Dakota shook his head and exchanged his coffee mug for a fork. “Not usually. It’s been a heavy meeting day today, though. Almost back to back until four.”
“How do you get any actual work done if you’re in meetings all day?”
“I don’t,” Dakota said with an unamused chuckle, digging his fork into his pie. “Not until after Andy goes to bed.”
Tay broke off a piece of his cookie. “That sucks.”
“It does, but it’s not often. I’m pretty lucky that, for the most part, I leave the job at the office when I leave at the end of the day.” Dakota slid his pie in Tay’s direction. “Want some?”
“I’m good, thanks. I had lunch after practice.” The cookie was warm and gooey in Tay’s mouth, and he chewed thoughtfully for a moment. “Is that why you work in non-profit? Because of the work-life balance?”
“Depending on which non-profit you work for, the work-life balance isn’t always better than one you might have at a for-profit. I got really lucky with the Foundation, but I also established boundaries early on. Unless I’ve got an urgent, last-minute project or am waiting on time-sensitive information, I don’t check emails outside of work hours. Andy’s my first priority, not some board member who’s got their underwear in a bunch over the wording in an email we sent our donors.”
The grouchiness in his voice had Tay covering up a smile with his coffee mug.
“I only put in a couple of hours of work after Andy’s gone to bed after days like today, where I don’t get anything done and need to catch up on a few things.”
“Speaking of work, why don’t you tell me more about this direct mail appeal I supposedly agreed to help with. Also, what’s direct mail?”
Dakota laughed softly, infectious and sweet. “In the non-profit world, direct mail is a request for a donation. It’s a story-based letter with a couple of asks buried in the copy. I’m sure you’ve seen them from hospital foundations and social justice charities. ‘This is Jordan, he’s five and for only fifty cents a day you can make sure he has clean water to drink.’”
Tay nodded. “Okay. So in the Foundation’s case, it’d be something like, donate today and help us renovate this athletic facility so kids of all ages can have access to sports.”
“Exactly.” Dakota pointed his fork at him.
“Who does the letter get mailed to?”
“Our donors and volunteers.”
“Okay. How can I help, though?” Tay finished off his cookie and set the empty plate back on the tray. “I don’t know how to write that kind of thing.”
“Sorry, I should’ve been clearer.” Dakota moved his own empty plate to the tray, then cupped his hands around his mug. “You don’t need to write anything. I have a writer on staff. Being our signatory means the letter is told from your point of view, in your own voice, and with your signature at the bottom, but my writer will draft it after she interviews you for your story.”
“You tell me,” Dakota said, a glint in his eye Tay didn’t understand until Dakota’s feet trapped one of his own underneath the table. “Have you ever taken advantage of a program run by a non-profit so you could keep playing?”
Oh, so he was going to pretend they weren’t playing footsies under the table, was he? Fine. Tay could play this game too. Good thing they were tucked into a quiet corner of the café. “Actually, yeah.” He ran the top of one foot up Dakota’s leg.
Dakota choked on his coffee.
About the author:
Amy’s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess. Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.
An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers. Join her Facebook Group, Amy Aislin’s Readers, to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases and for access to early teasers, find her on Instagram and Twitter, or sign up for her newsletter.
Website: http://amyaislin.com Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amyaislin/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amy.aislin Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/amyaislin/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/amy_aislin Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/amy-aislin Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16693566.Amy_Aislin Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ddvWFv
Win one of two signed paperback copies of Risking the Shot, plus author swag. Open internationally.
<a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c8c1c64115/” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”c8c1c64115″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_hyovx4h0″>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
Rafflecopter direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c8c1c64115/?